Tax Deductions When Selling a House

  • August 21, 2023
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What is tax deductible when selling a house? Navigating the complexities of the real estate market can be daunting. However, homeowners selling their properties have some relief through tax deductions. In this guide, we’ll delve into what is tax deductible when selling your home, ensuring you maximize your financial benefits.

What Is Tax Deductible When Selling a House

Several potential deductions available for home sellers can significantly reduce their tax liability. These can range from the real estate commissions paid to various closing costs. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common tax deductions when selling a home:


Every homeowner knows that selling a property is a complex handover. The costs associated with this process can be staggering. Fortunately, the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct specific selling costs from their taxable income. This includes legal fees, advertising expenses, and even tax-deductible home repairs, ensuring your house is in prime condition for the market.


What expenses can you deduct when selling a home?  Moving expenses can be hefty, especially for long-distance relocations. Though recent tax laws have limited this deduction for many, some taxpayers may still qualify. Military personnel, for instance, might be eligible to write off moving expenses. Moreover, any costs related to preparing the home for sale, like staging or minor touch-ups, might be deductible.

Real Estate Commissions

Are real estate commissions tax deductible? One of the more significant expenses for home sellers is the commission paid to the real estate agent or realtor. These commissions are often a percentage of the home’s sales price. 

Can you deduct real estate commissions from capital gains? Good news for sellers: the IRS recognizes this commission as a deductible selling expense. By doing so, homeowners can decrease their capital gains tax exposure.

Closing Costs

What closing costs are tax deductible when selling a home? Closing costs can encompass many fees, from title insurance and escrow fees to lender’s origination fees. These can quickly add up. Fortunately, several of these costs are deductible. Items like mortgage points, escrow, and recording fees can be written off. This can be particularly beneficial for homeowners, including NY property taxes in their escrow payments.

Home Improvements

What home improvements are tax deductible when selling? Capital improvements or renovations to increase the property’s value or extend its useful life can be deductible. These are different from the regular maintenance tasks but more significant changes, such as adding a new room or renovating the kitchen. 

These improvements add to the cost basis of your home, effectively reducing the capital gains when the property is sold. Understanding the available tax deductions can ensure homeowners pay what is necessary. It’s always recommended to consult with a tax professional to ensure all eligible home seller tax deductions are claimed. 

What home improvements are tax deductible when selling a home? For those in specific regions like New York, considerations like cash buyers can be factored in, especially if there’s a need to sell your house fast in Long Island. Navigating the selling process with an informed perspective can ease homeowners’ burden.

Tax Deductions When Selling a House

Non-Tax Deductible Costs When Selling a House

Understanding what costs are not tax-deductible is as crucial as knowing which ones are. While many financial incentives and deductions are available for sellers, it’s essential to know that not all selling costs can be written off. This knowledge will prevent any surprises come tax time and help sellers make informed financial decisions.

Home Repairs

While capital improvements on a home can be deductible, standard home repairs are not. Tasks like fixing leaky faucets, repainting rooms, or mending fences won’t count toward tax deductions. These are considered regular maintenance tasks that don’t significantly increase the home’s value or extend its lifespan.

Mortgage Penalties

A homeowner might be penalized if they decide to sell their house before the mortgage term ends. Unfortunately, such penalties for breaking a mortgage contract early are not tax-deductible.


For homeowners who previously claimed depreciation on their property, especially if it was a rental property, they cannot claim the amount they depreciated as a deduction when selling. The IRS treats the claimed depreciation as a cost recovery, reducing the property’s capital gains.

Home Warranty

If a seller offers a home warranty to make the property more appealing to potential buyers, the costs associated with this warranty are not deductible.

Can You Avoid Taxes When Selling a House?

The dream for many sellers is not just to make a profit from the sale of their home but to keep as much of that profit as possible. While avoiding all taxes on a home sale might be impossible, some legitimate strategies and exemptions can substantially reduce tax liability.

Capital Gains Tax Exemption

The primary residence exclusion is the most significant tax benefit for many homeowners. If you’ve lived in your home for at least two of the last five years before selling, you could exclude up to $250,000 (or $500,000 for married couples) from capital gains tax. You won’t owe any capital gains tax if you profit within this range.

Selling at a Loss

What expenses are deductible when selling a home? If you sell your home for less than what you paid, there are no capital gains to tax. While not ideal, selling at a loss means you won’t owe the IRS for capital gains.

1031 Exchange

For investment properties, homeowners might consider a 1031 exchange, which allows them to defer paying capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds from a sale into a “like-kind” property. This strategy is a way to delay tax payments and benefit real estate investors looking to grow their portfolios.

Always consult a tax professional to maximize your benefits when selling a house and minimize tax liabilities. They can guide your situation, ensuring you make the best financial decisions.

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    Capital Gains Tax on a House and How To Avoid It

    What costs are tax deductible when selling a home? Find out by diving into capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is a levy on the profit realized from the sale of an asset, like real estate. 

    When you sell a house for more than you paid, that profit might be subject to capital gains tax. However, understanding how it works and being aware of available exclusions and tax deductions when selling and buying a home can significantly reduce or even eliminate this tax obligation.

    What Is Capital Gains Tax?

    Capital gains tax is charged on the difference between the house’s purchase price (the “basis”) and its selling price. There are two types: short-term and long-term. If you owned the property for one year or less, any profit is considered a short-term gain, typically taxed at your regular income tax rate. 

    On the other hand, gains from properties held more than a year are classified as long-term and are generally taxed at a reduced rate, contributing to tax-deductible expenses when selling a home.

    Primary Residence Exclusion

    One of the most significant benefits for homeowners is the primary residence exclusion. If you’ve lived in your home for at least two of the last five years before selling, you can exclude up to $250,000 of the profit from capital gains tax if you’re single or up to $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly. This advantage means many homeowners can sell their homes without owing any capital gains tax.

    Improvements and Deductions

    When determining your capital gains, you can increase your home’s cost basis by accounting for home improvements, or capital improvements, made over the years. For instance, if you added a room, replaced the roof, or renovated the kitchen, these costs can be added to the original purchase price, reducing your taxable gain. 

    Remember, routine repairs and maintenance tasks don’t qualify for property tax deductions when selling a home. 

    Using Losses to Offset Gains

    If you’ve sold other properties at a loss, you can use these losses to offset your gains. This option is particularly valuable for real estate investors who sell multiple properties yearly. For instance, if you made a $30,000 profit from one sale but took a $20,000 loss on another, you would only owe capital gains tax on $10,000.

    1031 Exchange for Investment Properties

    As mentioned, the 1031 exchange allows real estate investors to defer capital gains tax. The tax obligation can be deferred indefinitely by reinvesting the proceeds from a property sale into a similar type of property within specific time frames. 

    Consult a Tax Professional

    Capital gains tax on houses can be complex, especially with the various exclusions, deductions, and applicable rules. If you’re considering selling a property, it’s wise to consult a tax professional or real estate agent. 

    They can provide personalized advice and strategies tailored to your situation, ensuring you make the most informed decisions. Whether it’s optimizing the timing of the sale or leveraging tax laws, the right guidance can save homeowners thousands of dollars.

    Consult a Tax Professional


    Navigating the financial maze of selling a house can be intricate, with tax deductions pivotal in optimizing profits. Knowledge is the homeowner’s most powerful tool in this journey. Sows can significantly minimize their tax burdens by understanding which expenses are deductible and how to utilize exclusions like the primary residence clause. 

    With expert guidance, homeowners can be assured of maximizing their returns while staying compliant with tax obligations. At Leave The Key Homebuyers, our mission is to simplify property transitions, helping you confidently step into a brighter financial future. We buy houses for cash in Buffalo and other New York locations, so reach out to us if you need to sell your NY home fast!

    What Is Tax Deductible When Selling a House